Stained teeth can make you feel insecure about your smile. Did you know tooth discoloration can be caused not only by surface stains, but also by the dentin and inner layers of your teeth? Luckily, while there are a number of causes of stained teeth, there are also many options for fixing discoloration!
Causes of Discoloration and Stained Teeth
Drinking tea, coffee, wine, and cola can easily stain your teeth. Tobacco use is will badly stain your teeth. Even eating certain highly pigmented foods like berries and beets can cause stains, and poor dental hygiene will allow all of these external factors to stain your teeth even more.
There are also causes of discoloration that you have less control over, like certain medications that can discolor teeth. Aging is also a common cause; as you age your tooth enamel wears down, showing the yellow or grayish dentin underneath. Trauma to a tooth can damage the nerve inside the tooth and even cause the nerve to die, which makes the tooth look darker or gray.
Basic Fixes for Stained Teeth
A great start in fixing your stained teeth would be to improve your overall dental hygiene. Limit food and beverages that may cause discoloration, and be sure to rinse your mouth with water after consuming them.
Visiting our office twice a year for professional cleaning will also make a substantial difference – our tools can remove tartar and stains that brushing at home can’t. Your teeth will almost always look whiter after a professional cleaning!
That said, cleaning your teeth regularly at home is the best way to remove harmful plaque and bacteria, as well as reduce staining. Drink lots of water throughout the day to rinse away all the things that cause staining and keep your mouth fresh.
An age-old (and very inexpensive) home remedy for stained teeth is a paste of 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts baking soda – apply it with a toothbrush and let it sit on your teeth for 2 minutes, then spit it out.
You can also try at-home whitening products if you prefer – there are many options available, and they can work reasonably well. However, people with sensitive teeth, receding gums, or cavities need to be careful; peroxide tends to absorb into sensitive areas, causing discomfort or even damage.
Treatments for Stained Teeth
If your stains are more severe or you want a more effective solution, in-office treatments might be your best option. Teeth whitening, bonding, or veneers can all give you a brighter, younger-looking smile. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of each one:
- Dramatic results, even when other whitening treatments fail
- No harsh chemicals – works by allowing oxygen to penetrate deep into your teeth
- Great for patients with sensitive teeth or set-in stains
- Affordable, especially if you have just a few badly discolored teeth
- Great for chips, gaps, calcium deposits, and other small problems on prominent teeth
- Uses ultraviolet light or laser to harden tooth-colored resin material over decay
- Takes about 30-60 minutes and lasts between 5-15 years
- Tooth-colored coverings hide badly stained teeth
- Great for misshapen teeth, deep discoloration, or large gaps
- Resists future stains and chips, and lasts about 20 years
You may be ready to do just about anything to have attractive, white teeth and a confident smile. But please be careful when using at home whitening products. If you overdo it, you can damage tooth enamel and cause sensitivity. If you want to know more about fixing stained teeth, with either at home or in-office treatments, just get in touch!
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